Follow Me on Pinterest

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Workshops Designed Just for You!

It appears that I'm not systematic in blogging (oh really? yep, I was shocked to find that my last post was in October - shame on me). 

Plans are to change this in 2016 and keep the record more up to date.  Truth is, it looks like I haven't done much and I've been more busy than ever, however, sitting down to document has been another story, as I'd much rather be doing than writing about it.  Facebook is good, because I can take a quick break and do a quick post or two.  This past month though I have been sick with a dastardly virus that began when I returned on December 5 from a very successful pop up show in Charleston, SC, that I was invited to participate in with a group of fun ladies (and now new friends) at a fabulous home.  Still today, three weeks later, I'm just beginning to feel more like myself but the congestion hasn't quite gone yet; it only makes me more grateful than ever for the good health I usually enjoy.

2016 promises to be the busiest and most creative year yet and I have been offered some fabulous opportunities; I finally feel as though there is a nitch for my felting in the Low Country.  I believe most people viewed felt making as more suited to those living in the North but once they were exposed to lovely light and airy nuno felting,  ideas of too hot and wooly changed so now a lot of interest in workshops has been generated and I can't wait to share my passion.  I have also been fortunate enough to meet some lovely people who are interested and are helping me reach a wide expanse of potential students locally - Beaufort, Charleston and Savannah.

So beginning in January, I will be joining SATB (Sewing At The Beach) in Myrtle Beach for a week of teaching.  I'm excited to be meeting up with like minded creative people all gathered together under one roof - the creative energy generated at these events is unsurpassed!  I'm teaching several classes using my trusty Baby Lock Embellisher combined with stitching/wet felting and so this week I will be making new samples - cuff, painting with wool, nuno fragments and my favorite, art flower felts.  It is so fun to get lost in your passion and I am so ready after being sick for so many weeks.  I love working tone on tone and creating lots of texture; working this way permits you to add punches of color if you feel it is necessary, but a lot of times, things that are too busy, do not appeal to me so it feel better to me if I approach it this way.  The great thing about the Embellisher is that there are tons of ways to fix it if you aren't happy at first - cover or remove are just two.

Either in January or February, I will be scheduling a workshop in Charleston so keep tuned for that update.

In February, I will begin teaching at ArtWorks newly named Mather school; we are hoping that this will be a regular venue.

Early March, I will be teaching my other passion, Eco Printing, for the Fiber Guild of the Savannahs.  Later in March, I am heading off to teach Tessellations in Felt at the Ballarat School in Australia and then later in April to Wilmington, NC, to teach Eco Printing.

In between, there will be more workshops for ArtWorks, the Fiber Guild of the Savannah's as well as in Fredericksburg, Virginia, in October.  November will be busy with our FAB (Fiber Artists of Beaufort) annual show and sale.

If you or your group are interested in developing a program, please be in touch and I will design a special project and workshop just for you, whether it be wet felting, machine needle felting, eco printing, silk fusion or joomchi (Korean papermaking)

I've had two drumcarders in the past - an Ashford that I really liked, but I sold the Ashford and purchased the large electric one as I thought I may create production batts  - I didn't enjoy it very much at all.  Thankfully, used drumcarders are in great demand so I had no trouble selling it - especially as I had used it only a handful of times.  My secret desire for a while was to have the Louet Junior because when embellishing, there are so many times that I want to gently blend silks, merino, curls for backgrounds - I really needed it and it works like a charm for my purposes!  I just LOVE it - simply and effective.  It is a dream to use, really.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

"Trying to Change The World One Sequin at a Time" - Lady Gaga

Experiments with Indigo FUN!!!

Indigo silk scarf
Silky merino wool and indigo cowl

Variety of silk scarves dyed with indigo
Indigo chiffon scarf
Chiffon botanical print scarf
Yesterday I was reading some artistic quotes for inspiration - amazing what energy that can produce and I spotted the quote by Lady Gaga "Trying to Change the World One Sequin at a Time" and I could relate to that right away because felt making, dyeing and all my other endeavors have permitted me to meet the most amazing, kind and inspirational souls and yes, I think when we create beauty and share, it does change the energy in the world.  From my lovely friend, Pat, who treats me like a Queen picking me up bearing gifts and taking me to and fro when I visit Maryland and need to catch up with my former world and former friends to all sorts of new people in my life (June who brings me silk!  Eileen and others who flood me with leaves and mushrooms) as well as all the lovely friends who support me as well as the opportunities in my new life.

I am so grateful for the support of my lovely husband and family who never hesitate to help me in my creative endeavors - suggestions, assistance, support, guidance and even more than I can list here.

Lots of pictures because I have been more busy than usual because our fiber group, FAB, Fiber Artists of Beaufort is having a show in November at ArtWorks.  The reception will be held on November 13 so, if you can make it, I would love to see you.  We are having all sorts of demos by some very talented artists in a variety of media on November 14 and 15.

A large botanical printed silk wrap
A wall hanging with a silk habotai botanical print,
 hand stitching and a silk fusion butterfly will complete it.
New felt work to be added to a vest in progress.

Thursday, May 28, 2015


I've been away most of May and prior to that I was so busy making samples, preparing handouts, for the three very different workshops and compiling information for the first eco printing workshop that I taught. 

I arrived in Washington, DC, on April 30, and was whisked to stay with my 91 year old Mom (soon to be 92) in Silver Spring.  Usually when you travel and teach, the host arranges accommodations but Artistic Artifacts, in Alexandria, Virginia, is so close to where my Mom lives, that I could not be so close and not stay with her.  I struggled with the arrangements as unless you've ever lived in the DC/MD/VA metro area, you really have no idea what you are dealing with when it comes to traffic and I wondered how on earth I'd get from point A (my Mom's) to point B (Alexendria, VA) for 5 days of workshops.   In any event, my friend Pat kindly came to my rescue (as she has done so often before) and transported me to and fro daily; we had such a great time in the car and had a chance to really catch up.

The eco printing workshop was fun and we had so many supplies to play and experiment with, but one day was not enough time to do it all especially when there are beginners so for the Fiber Guild of the Savannas, where I'll teach next March, the group agreed to two days.

Whenever I teach at Artistic Artifacts, it is a great joy - the owner Judy and her assistant Sharon could not be more accommodating and there are always friends, former students and new ones as well.    I will post pictures as soon as I get them from a friend/student who was good enough to offer to take them since I'm always so engrossed with helping students and don't remember; I have to work on that!

I had been searching for a used bullet steamer for a while and pounced on one that came up for sale on eBay and won - the day before my accident. The condition of purchase was that it had to be picked up in Asheville which is a distance away and as you can imagine, riding in a car was not possible with a broken back!  I'm so lucky to have wonderful friends! and my lovely and fun friend from Charleston, Judy, went to a wedding a couple of weeks later near there and brought it to me.  Since then, I haven't plucked up the courage to try it because I needed to wait until I was strong enough - so today was IT!!!  And it was even more thrilling than you can imagine.   

You have to start somewhere, so I just plunged in and used silk/wool blend that I had available and added some things from the garden and things stored in the freezer (even some previously used eucalyptus), sprayed with vinegar and steamed for a couple of hours.  I'm so very happy with the results!  They really look like an Asian print to me - very soft and flowing.  So now my mind is conjuring up more experiments.   As far as documenting, I'm planning to change my procedure from writing on tyvek and pinning it on the piece, to numbering each piece and documenting the process in a journal because sometimes more information is required for clarity and so I'm beginning that procedure as of today; while you think you will remember, after a while you forget without notes.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

War and Peace

Last September, I met up with some friends in Charleston to play with eco printing before we went off to an Indigo Retreat.  My darling friend Sharon, who quite suddenly and unexpectedly passed away on New Year's Eve, was one of them along with our friend Jeanne.  We met at another friend, Judy's, who lives in Charleston and who very graciously hosted us and provided her studio for us to use.  And what a wonderful time we had with a lot of laughs and learning.  We had absolutely no idea what was about to befall Sharon and were in such shock (still am) at what transpired.   Anyway, I'm so grateful that we had the opportunity to be together - that is how I will always remember her -- we giggled and laughed so much because she brought her enormous bullet steamer all the way from Washington and between all the supplies and materials they packed in, there was not much room for either Jeanne or Sharon; we really experimented a lot and one of my favorite pieces was this heavy silk that got a tiny bit singed along the fold; I named it War and Peace, since it is peace silk and looks like its been in a war ;-)      I've since seen someone online doing arashi shibori and purposely singeing some of it over an open flame.
I wasn't sure what the most effective way was to use it - first I thought wall-hanging, then I thought of cutting it up to sew a jacket and I'm so glad I waited.  It came to me that it should just be a simple rectangular wrap with slits for your arms and it has turned out just spectacular!  I turned the top part over as it was quite wide and it makes a stunning collar.   I still need to stitch the front edges and armholes by hand but it hangs so well and makes a very elegant statement.  Now I need to come up with a closure that will do it justice.
And then here are a couple of other pieces of chiffon that have been eco printed also. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Success At ArtWorks and The Story of Silk

Yesterday's Fantasy Beach Felt workshop went really well, although I wish it had lasted an hour longer.  Except for a couple of students who had minimal experience, most were totally new to felt making (although very talented in other fiber areas)  I do love teaching about the differences in wools, the varieties of silk and other fibers and the importance of using proper techniques, also understanding when the felt is properly finished.   I really wanted to be able to show the students the difference that stitching would make - since the pieces were still damp, we could not use a sewing machine but some hand stitching really is fun and makes a huge difference to the texture, but by the time their piece was felted, our time was over and it was time to quickly clean up.  I will make sure that next time, class is long enough to include time for stitching and embellishment.   Anyway, the students asked for "more" so it was a success.  

I could do a much better job taking pictures and confess that I am VERY bad about that and really must focus more on picture taking; I love giving individual attention, so I just don't think about it until it is too late.  I need an assistant who is a photographer!  Maybe I'll get a volunteer who can take classes in consideration for photographs - Wendy Avery???

One of the students, Elizabeth, who drove from North Carolina (6 hours!) very kindly gave me a gift of a silk handkerchief from Japan, printed with the story of silk - what a wonderful teaching aid this will be!  I didn't really get to appreciate it until this morning when I had time to sit and look at the silk in all the different stages and forms.  Thank you again dear Elizabeth!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Painting with Wool

I am trying out a local venue to see if it is suitable for workshops this Saturday, I think we will have a fun group.  I had planned to copy my daughter, Andi's idea of pairing wine and art.  Andi who is a fine artist and also works at a winery offers workshops that combine wine tasting and painting. 

I'm working on finding an appropriate B&B that would be interested in hosting events so that out of towners could have a lovely place to stay and enjoy all that beautiful Beaufort has to offer and where we could also serve wine, have lunch/dinner, etc., - I love pairing with local businesses so that we can help one another.  In the meantime, this workshop will be held at ArtWorks which is really neat gathering place for artists of all sorts and it is where the fiber guild I belong to, FAB, presents its annual show and sale each November and if it is a success, then I will plan more.  The sip of wine didn't quite work as the complications for me to serve wine were just too much and I want to focus on the felt and students so I was able to get around it by telling students that they can bring their own "sip" if they are so inclined!

Although I do very much love to travel and teach, it would also be so wonderful to be able to offer classes for local people too - I think too often in the South, people think of felting as heavy and wooly and much too warm to wear in such a temperate climate; however, once they see and feel  light and airy nuno, it tweaks their interest and they understand that it is just perfect for those in between days or cooler evenings. 

The other type of felting that has great possibilities in this area is painting with wool - it is just perfect for wall art or inclusion for bags and there is no end to inspiration around the low country so that is what we are doing on Saturday - sipping and painting with wool.  Here are a couple of samples - one with a lot of stitching and the other with a minimum amount.  I have found while doing this that it helps to take a photograph during the process to see where interest is lacking.  For some reason, it help focus on the picture better, I don't know why but it works.  I added elements to both of these after looking at the picture and I know what I would do differently next time - a great way to teach students from my own experiences. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Ice Dyeing

Last year before I had my accident, I had begun to experiment quite a bit with ice dyeing - oh so exciting and fun!  I did a ton and now have pieces to use up.  First I did a sample using one layer of wool and topped with a silk batt and loved the results although the background looks grey in the picture it is actually a greenish blue and all the colors match the dye colors.  The top piece is the back and the second picture shows the texture of the silk batt - scrumptious!


Next I used a long piece to make a wrap, I loved the iced dying but I must say, after felting the dyeing doesn't show up quite as much.  For the second piece, I used two layers of wool to learn what the different would be between using one and two layers and for the surface I used silk hankies in the same tones as the ice dyeing - it is a little more substantial but not too heavy because the wool was shingled very lightly for the two layers.  I also learned that I do not like working with some artificial fiber (not sure what it was)  that I had purchased some time ago because it looked like silk - even though I just used a tiny bit, you can see how strong it is and I won't be using this again.

In the Mood

. . . . .  to felt, dye, stitch, gather plants to eco print. My mind is full of ideas and plans but because of my accident, I've been way behind.  I've been invited to do a fashion show at a luncheon for a ladies club on Fripp Island, on April 15.  I'm very honored and excited about this because they have invited me to give a presentation and the members will be the models so it's a great opportunity for me to promote felt making and eco printing to a local community.

The beautiful weather is here but if the truth be told, I do love a rainy day too - I think it is in my blood because maybe you don't know but it rains a lot in Scotland, the land of my birth and early years so I find it to be a comfort.

I took the plunge and cut up the white nuno fabric that I felted a few weeks ago and stitched it all by hand into a lovely flowing jacket that fits perfectly; it isn't quite dry yet, so I'll get a better picture when it is.  Madonna (the name of my body brace who is now a working girl) had her first real job and she worked like a charm, although she is not so beautiful to photograph she aims to please with the fit!  For a pattern I copied a jacket that I have and there are a lot of opportunities with the simplicity for embellishment.  I still have quite a bit of the nuno yardage left so I'll have to come up with another idea to use it.  I thought about something to match the jacket, but a skirt of the same fabric would be just too much.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Live On-Line Video Workshop - Something New for Me

It's official - I'll be teaching my Fanciful Felted Cuffs in a live on-line video workshop on May 27 with Alison Lee.  I've listened to Alison's podcasts for years - she interview artists and has such a clever way about her; I love the format she uses and the interesting artists she finds; check her out on i-tunes to hear them - especially if you are a polymer or metalsmith artist.

Never in a million years, did I think that I would be working with her on CRAFTCAST - such an exciting show, so when she contacted me to teach a workshop, I jumped at the chance!    Both machine-needle and wet felting techniques will be covered along with ideas for free motion stitching that will enable students to achieve the most texture and they will be able to incorporate their new skills.   This is a great way to learn the "how to's" in a small scale - they can be as plain or as fancy as you like and hand stitching and/or beads can be incorporated as well.

 into their other work as well.  Needless to say I'm excited!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Update! Date Change for Fantasy Beach Felt 101 - Bring your own Sip!

The date for this workshop had to be changed to March 21 due to a conflict at ArtWorks.  Same program and be sure to bring your own sip of wine (since it is not my address and I don't a  license to serve) and I'll be sure to bring mine; it can only add to the fun!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

'Snowy Dreams' I LOVE Making Fancy Nuno Fabric

For the past week, in between physical therapy appointments, I've been doing what I love most - creating very textured nuno fabric, tone-on-tone.  I began with naming them 50 shades of white but the more I thought about it, decided that helping "50 shades" get more notoriety didn't work for me.

I always name my fabrics because creating them is much like my creativity giving birth - so the new name bestowed on these two large nuno pieces is "snowy dreams" in honor of all those affected by the more than usual cold and snow they have been subjected to - all of the lovely textured swirls are exactly what they reminds me of.  I am going to cut these pieces up and stitch a garment, but I will have to take a little time and  think about what would justify the cutting of these gorgeous floaty nuno pieces.  Not to worry, I plan to use every last morsel for something.  At the moment, they call out "wedding" to me.  So on to another project while I ponder.  I've been invited to do a fashion show for a ladies club in April, and am a bit behind because of my accident - but that is all behind me now so I must forge ahead.

Fantasy Beach Felt - Introduction to Felt

I've been searching for a teaching venue in our hometown of Beaufort; I really want to partner with a B&B and plan some retreats but it takes time to find just the right network. 

Anyway, I will be teaching" Fantasty Beach Felt" at ArtWorks in Beaufort on March 28, from 4 - 7 p.m.    I had grand hopes of  naming it  "Sip of Wine and a Taste of Felt" but OH the complications to be able to serve wine - so that will not work for this time but I WILL work on finding a suitable venue where this will work now that I'm finished with physical therapy.

The purpose of this workshop is to introduce students to felting techniques and to create a small picture from a simple photograph using minimal supplies - of course, this is a teaser because once they find out how fun it is to create something wonderful with simply wool and silk fiber, a little soap and water, they will be (hopefully) be back for more.  I've added a few shell beads and attached it to an interested small branch to make it easy to display.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Beach Felt Scene

Hunting Island Beach in Beaufort, SC, is 20 minutes from where we live and is truly a natural wonder. It is a state park and is the best kept secret around - no commercialism at all.  A pristine and lovely treasure.  I wanted to capture the essence of it so I used a photograph (I'm going to try to find the name of the photographer to give them credit because it really is lovely).  Anyway, here is my first attempt - I gave it as a gift to some friends who were visiting as a keepsake - hope you get the idea!  It is machine-needle and wet felted.

Gossamer Green

This is a gossamer seafoam green silk scarf - working with color is one of my strong points (unlike my bad habit of taking waaaay to long to get projects done).  Working with color is something that I love; I enjoy using unusual combinations at times and I had my pallet all figured out  (I thought) but it just goes to show you that sometimes things just do not pan out the way you see it in your head.  I had selected peach for the flower petals but by the time I had laid out the first half, it was looking just too washed out.  Not that I dislike pastels; but the value of the green turned out to be just a little to vibrant for the soft peach to enhance it; I then used the deeper peach for the second half - these were naturally dyed colors so I don't know if that had anything to do with it or not.  By the time I had the whole thing laid out, I just left it on the table for a couple of days walking by from time to time to wait for it to "speak" to me.  It definitely didn't please my eye, so I decided to add more green vines/leaves and some blue that is a little more vibrant to give it some oomph.  It is very much like putting a quilt together, you must have light and dark to give it interest and sometimes, just a touch will do it.  I liked the scarf much better once it was felted with the added blue and then I added a few French knots with a variegated silk thread that shades from bright peach to golden peach around the centers which turned out to be just the right touch.